Nick's drag queen bathtubs sprouted legs and before too long there were between five or six people batting snarky comments back and forth about them. Nick was insistent that I write something and I agreed that I would if he did. Then I upped the pressure a bit and demanded that everybody who was trading barbs about it last Thursday deal with these things in their blogs today. As the day goes on today, I'll post links to everybody else's take on these things at the bottom of this post. I have a feeling that everybody else will me laughing about them. I thought it through and I think the joke's on us.
At first I was appalled but then I read the accompanying article. It turns out that these are real tubs but the kicker is that they're produced by Sicis. Sicis is an Italian mosaic tile company, in my mind they are the Italian mosaic tile company. Sicis is the Ravenna-based producer of some of the finest (and most expensive) glass tile on the planet. Their primary product are small-scale tiles and they're available in a color palette that's so expansive it's difficult to describe adequately.
As amazing as the quality of the color is, where Sicis really shines is as an incubator of ideas. Sicis does everything it can to enable great designers to go nuts with Sicis tile. And go nuts they do. Here's some of what I mean.
I cannot imagine any other manufacturer pulling this off.
I don't doubt for a second that Sicis will sell you one these tubs. They will sell you one of these mannequins too. But something tells me that in the deepest bowels of that factory in Ravenna, no one's pinning their hopes on you or anybody else buying a mosaic bathtub in the shape of a shoe. What Sicis want from these tubs is for people to talk about them and to talk about Sicis at the same time. So in the case of this blog post, I played right into their hand. I'm glad to do it too. Sicis makes amazing stuff and how they sell it is usually as compelling as the stuff itself.
Sicis has a new showroom on the corner of Broome and Green Streets in New York. It is the St. Peter's Basilica of mosaic tile.
No trip to New York could be considered complete without a stop there. Their neighborhood in Soho is crammed with such notable neighbors as Waterworks, Kartell, Artemide, Luceplan and their primary competitors, Bisazza. Get thee to Soho!
So after all that, we're back to the tubs. How clever is it that a company in Ravenna can encourage a designer to develop an absurd bathtub and in reaction to it, a bunch of other designers would start talking about it on Twitter. Less then a week later, all of those designers would talk about those tubs on their blogs. I think that's what we call viral marketing. Sicis spent a couple thousand euros on an absurd tub and as a result of that, they're going to sell a boatload of tile.
Since this post is part of a popular uprising on Twitter, here ae the rest of the fine folks who are weighing in on this weighty issue today. Check 'em out.
Always game Becky Shankle: Eco-Modernism is her blog, @ecomod is her Twitter handle
Innocent bystander Alexandra Williams: Fun and Fit is her blog, @Alexandrafunfit is her Twitter handle
Chief instigator Nick Lovelady: Cupboards is his blog, @cupboards is his Twitter handle
Guilty bystander Bill Buyok: AventeTile Talk is his blog, @AventeTile is his Twitter handle
Puppet master Rufus Dogg, AKC, PhD, DS: Dog Walk Blog is his blog, @dogwalkblog is his Twitter handle
The divine Madame Sunday: Modern Sauce is her blog, @ModernSauce is her Twitter handle